Three months ago, I went to the Estremoz area (Alentejo) and met Alexandre Ferreira, who greeted at the door. We spent the whole day together and I had the opportunity to see her studio where she works every day. We had a beautiful lunch prepared by her and spoke about her life in Portugal but also about the experiences she had in Berlin, Paris and London. Here you can check our talk.
Kintu Studio: Tell me more about you, what is you background?
Alexandra: I was born in Monte Estoril and I studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Calda das Rainhas. Afterwards I worked with stone for some time. I went on to train in Barcelona, Paris and Berlin where I stayed for 15 years. In some places I had artistic residencies where I continued to train in many fields.
Kintu Studio: So, now you are based in village called Vila Viçosa.
Alexandra: yes, I am.
Kintu Studio: Why did you choose there?
Alexandra: During the pandemic (nowhere was easy) I realised that in Anticlinal Estremoz all the factories were prospering at the time. Therefore, I decided to return to Portugal and go to Villa de Viçosa where I could continue to work with stone.
Kintu Studio: Do you like to be there?
Alexandra: Life is quiet, I'm very focused on work and I'm very grateful for being welcomed in a kind way. The feeling I love is that I feel like I’m a foreigner here. It is like I have always felt in places I have lived before. I love this feeling.
Kintu Studio: What does your average working day look like?
Alexandra: My studio, where I have my marble and workstation, is located in a factory that is 20 minutes from my home. Sometimes I cycle or I get a lift with the factory owners. The factory is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and I usually try to be there during these hours. I often finish my designs at home, where I also have space. I work at my own pace, sometimes 12 hours and sometimes 5. I read a lot, go for walks or sleep if I want to.
Kintu Studio: Returning from a big city like Berlin to a small village must be a very different experience. Do you miss the city?
Alexandra: I have moved around all my life, and so has my family, so it’s perfectly normal for me. Everything is a phase, just like the phases in my life in Berlin, Paris.
Kintu Studio: I understand. Was the move also in some way an escape from the people, the city?
Alexandra: Oh, everyone asks me about it, literally everyone. I'm not running away from the city or the people. I think if I wanted to escape, I would probably do it to another place, Asia or South America where I could be totally anonymous.
Kintu Studio: You work a lot. Do you feel lonely?
Alexandra: No, I love people, I love spending time with people, and I've always been a very sociable person.
Here I am very focused on work and being here alone is very sustainable for me at the moment.
Of course, I spend time with people when I go to Lisbon, go to exhibitions and dance. In Villa Sousa I don't have that, social aspect, but I use that time to focus on myself and my work.
Kintu Studio:Indeed, I can tell that you love people. You greeted me in a beautiful way. We had a delicious dinner and chocolate cake made by you. Thank you very much again!
Alexandra: Yes, as I said, I like to host. I've enjoyed today.
Kintu Studio: Lovely. And finally, how do you find inspiration for your pieces?
Alexandra: When it comes to objects, it's easy to look around and do the things I always use or have used. Soap dishes, plates, kitchen boards or decorations. I also use my own things in the house, as you’ve seen.
When it comes to sculptures, they are rather complex, my works are inspired by everyday objects that become reflections on the material and immaterial aspect of the piece. I read a lot and I’m constantly looking around me for people to draw inspiration from. They are also influenced by cultural, anthropological aspects.
Kintu Studio:Yes, and I’m fully in love with all your pieces.
Alexandra: Thank you!
Kintu Studio: Great. Well, thank you so much for your time :)
Alexandra: Thank you for visiting me :)